After-school programs provide safety, interaction - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

After-school programs provide safety, interaction

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Posted: Saturday, September 25, 2004 4:51 am | Updated: 5:43 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Jan Jepson says she is grateful for the positive things her 10-year-old son, Reid Blakely, has received from Scottsdale’s after-school programs.

Reid, who has outgrown the programs, participated for five years while Jepson went to school and worked full time.

"It gave him an opportunity to be in a safe environment after school," she said. "They promoted homework, and Reid interacted with his schoolmates outside of the regular school day."

After-school programs are crucial to working families, as they give children safe and positive activities in a supervised setting, said Scottsdale recreation leader Terry Erickson. She said 824 children participate in the city’s nine programs for children in first through sixth grades.

The programs will be highlighted at a "Lights On Afterschool!" pep rally for children and parents Oct. 7 at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts. It is part of a larger event sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit organization aiming to give children access to after-school programs by 2010.

The national event is promoted by national youth organizations and programs, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, 4-H, Junior Achievement, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers and the YMCA of the USA, according to the alliance’s Web site, www.afterschoolalliance.org.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale and the YMCA have been invited to send children to the event, Erickson said.

The pep rally will include visits from Sparky, the Arizona State University mascot, and the ASU cheerleading squad. An Arizona Diamondbacks player will serve as guest speaker, Erickson said. High school cheer squads and bands also will perform.

Besides crafts, games and sports, Scottsdale afterschool programs give children time to work on their homework with certified teachers who know the district’s curriculum, Erickson said. "In most of our programs, we either offer a tutoring component or a ‘homework helps’ component," she said.

Jepson said her son formed good relationships with the program staff. "He was very comfortable with them, and he had a lot of fun with them," she said.

After-school rally

What: "Lights On Afterschool!" pep rally

When: 3 to 5:30 p.m., Oct. 7

Where: Scottsdale Center for the Arts, 7380 E. Second St.

Information: (480) 312-7981

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